Topic: Seeking the Policy Synergies: Building Shared Responsibility for Local Food Contingency in Queensland, Australia
Keywords: Disaster resilience, Local food contingency, Community of practice, Shared responsibility, Policy synergies
Internationally it is acknowledged that empowered communities are the ones that are enabled to share responsibility for their resilience to disaster events. In Australia, the Queensland Government has long-supported a clear research agenda to mobilise local, community-led initiatives as envisioned by the release of its National Strategy for Disaster Resilience in 2011. The State of Queensland – and Australia as a country – is increasingly experiencing severe weather events and with more frequency, with food supply chains reliant upon emergency re-supply from other Australian States. Queensland has experienced a host of recent flood and cyclone disasters over the last decade, where in just a few days residents resorted to panic buying.
In 2013 the Australian Government announced its National Food Plan White Paper, which situated communities as passive consumers of industry-government-led food provision. Although the White Paper is now inactive due to a change in national government, its view and associated perceptions of risk continue to shape and drive the food agenda. Within this context there is a significant opportunity to develop food policy that enables local community activation and participation, in line with the country’s existing national Shared Responsibility Framework, as embodied within the disaster resilience sector.
This research paper will report on the unique challenges and opportunities emergent from research within the food policy environment. In collaboration the Queensland Government (Office of the Inspector-General Emergency Management “IGEM”) the authors acknowledge that ensuring such activities are coordinated and led efficiently requires the employment of effective communication. Utilising smart technology and geospatially referenced information sits at the heart of this imperative for leveraging social norms to generate a more equitable and accountable change in the food system.
The authors focus on a unique opportunity to identify and discuss key policy synergies required to enhance the existing Shared Responsibility Framework, to focus on food. The paper uses an example of community spirit to form the backbone of food-related disaster resilience through the application of an effective and efficient platform – Basecamp – a community of practice comprising government and community groups. The discussion and recommendations draw on consultation workshops undertaken in August 2018 with Government and community leaders. The paper has immediate implications for state and federal government in planning and implementing effective community engagement. More broadly it has the potential to inform international food policy for normalising local food procurement tailored to local needs and wants, with contingency-planning based on those normalised interactions.